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SPARC news - 2003, February weeks 3 - 4

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IDC
. "The strong sequential growth is a sign of assurance that the server market will return to more normal seasonal predictability later this year," said Jean S. Bozman, vice president of Global Enterprise Server Solutions at IDC. "As customers demand richer technology configurations at lower price points, the entry market will continue to lead market growth as vendors focus on entry products to meet those demands."

"As we indicated last quarter, the number 1 position in the UNIX market is very unpredictable," said Steve Josselyn, research director, IDC's Enterprise Server Fundamentals program. "This quarter there was no clear leader as the top three vendors fought head-to-head, resulting in ties in multiple segments of the UNIX market."
IDC Says Server Market Continues to Stabilize

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - February 28, 2003 - Although the server market declined 5.2% in Q4 2002 to $12.3 billion in terms of factory revenue from the same quarter a year ago, the server market experienced its strongest sequential growth in the last 3 years. The overall server market grew 15.2% from Q3 2002, fueled by strong growth in the entry server market (servers priced less than $100,000). The entry server market itself grew nearly 18% sequentially and nearly 14% year-over-year. The fourth quarter results were in line with IDC's expectations.

In the fourth quarter, IBM extended its lead in the overall server market with a 36.2% share, gaining more than 2 points of share from a year ago. Dell and Sun Microsystems also posted slight year-over-year market share gains, with 1.5 points and 0.2 points respectively.

For all of 2002, worldwide server factory revenues declined 11.6% year-over-year to $44.3 billion while unit shipments increased 5% to 4.481 million. IBM remains number 1 with 29.4% share followed by HP with 23.8% share. If HP and Compaq shipments were combined for the full year, HP would be in the number 2 position with 27.8% share.
IDC Says Server Market Continues to Stabilize

Sun Promises Faster SPARC Performance Mañana

Continuous Computing Delivers Application-Ready, Open Architecture Platform for Telecom Equipment Manufacturers

Sun Slashes Prices of Dumb Terminals to Education Market

Imperial Technology Enables New Class of Mainframe Performance with Terabyte Class 1 million IOPS Solid State Disk storage

Sun and SunGard to Jointly Market Business Continuity Solutions

Brooktrout Launches Consultant Access Network Program to Bring Consultants and Developers Together to Accelerate Time to Market

Harris Corporation Computer Security Tool Now Includes Department of Homeland Security Vulnerabilities List

Adax ATMII-PMC handles all 3G network signalling

Bytemobile and Sun Deliver Dynamic Optimization for Wireless Data

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Megabyte went through his Michelangelo phase. "Somewhere in that lump of rock is a solid state disk..."

View from the Hill

That new blade looks good, sounds good. But will it stop your system working?

M
anaging the old server farm is getting more difficult nowadays. What's the business going to be doing next year? Will it be bigger? Smaller? What are the critical applications which are going to eat up all your server power and bandwidth? Which critical supplier is going to disappear, leaving you with the extra workload of engineering a band aid workaround? Oh yes - and your IT budget is going to be much less than you really need to cope. Again.

At times of high uncertainty, users can reduce risk by choosing flexible solutions which can be built (or unbuilt) incrementally. Monolithic solutions which claim to offer lower total cost of ownership sound fine on the vendor's web site, but you can't afford to bet the farm on a single solution, knowing your target may have changed before the new system is even installed.

Maybe that's one of the reasons we've been seeing such high reader interest in SPARC blade products on the SPARC Product Directory web site in recent quarters. Pageviews on SPARC blade pages overtook volume on rackmount SPARC systems last year, and oscillates with SPARC portables in being the #1 or #2 most popular product area that our readers visit. In this context SPARC blades (as opposed to SPARCblades which are a trademark of Continuous Computing) are single board SPARC computers, which are designed for easy insertion into rackmount systems.

The flavor of the month for high performance SPARC blade backplane architecture is compact PCI. Market analysts have been saying that standard form factors like this one will succeed in the market in preference to proprietary solutions from any small group of vendors. Compact PCI is mechanically based on the decades old Eurocard form factor - which also spawned the VMEbus. But its timing specs are rooted in the ubiquitous and similarly named PCI. The first cPCI SPARC SBC was launched 1997 by Force Computers, but now 6 manufacturers compete in this SPARC space, and I confidentally predict that the number will grow when the product marketers have digested the reality of this trend.

Plugging an another processor when you need it is an attractive idea. Even better than the preinstalled extra processors shipped in Sun mainframes, the blade concept holds out the promise that when you plug in a new processor in about 12 months time, it could be faster and cheaper than the original generation of processors with which you started.

However that's when you'll learn that most manufacturers don't test their cards properly in heterogenous systems, and every now an again you're going to find that adding a new card will stop the older ones working.

Before my cut and paste career as editor of this publications, I managed a technical group which supported the 1980s equivalent of today's blades - based on the 6U VMEbus form factor. Back then we supported over 130 different cards including manufacturers like Sun, Force, Motorola and dozens more companies which made specialised processors or I/O. The list of cards which we found didn't work in our systems was almost as long as the list of those we used. Usually the failed cards would work fine by themselves, or if they were only used in simple configurations with other cards from the same manufacturer. But often you would find that putting 3 or 4 cards of the same type in a system would stop it working. "Why would you want to put so many processors in a rack?" we would be asked by vendors. "We never thought anyone would do that."

Timing problems were the least of our worries, because they could be ferreted out quickly.

Subtle problems would arise due to cabling design. When you tried putting 8 high density I/O cards next to each other, the thickness and inflexibility of the cables would sometimes make it difficult to route the signals out of the card cage without making it a couple of inches deeper. Space which just wasn't there. That's not a problem which you see coming until too late.

Some cards were easier to insert than remove. You'd eventually figure out that a rogue high performance card had been designed to fit into a single slot, but actually consumed about five times as much power as the maximum power budget defined by the bus specs. The plastic connectors on these cards melted slightly and would stick to the backplane. So, after a few months of operation, when you tried swapping the card as part of your fault finding process - you couldn't get the damn thing out without using excessive force and nearly ripping your fingers off.

Thermal problems caused the hardest to solve of intermittent faults. If you were lucky you might discover the tell tale blackening caused by hot spots on adjacent cards having a bake off. The symptoms would be that the system would work fine for a couple of days, and then just fail due to heat exhaustion... Once a new card we tried, set our system on fire.

The blade approach is a powerful and flexible paradigm, and you'll be glad you used it. But its simplictity is deceptive. No single manufacturer makes the best of everything you want.You'll have to learn new skills of detection, and like Sherlock Holmes, you'll have to use evidence and logic to pin the blame on the right culprits. But you can have a lot of fun too, and your skills will become greatly sought after and highly valued. So, when the upturn comes, and you've saved your organization a bundle on monolithic alternatives, that might be a good time to put in for a pay rise.

Imperial Technology
Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., Imperial Technology has over a decade of experience designing and manufacturing high-performance storage solutions that shatter I/O bottlenecks to supercharge application performance.

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. In the highly consolidated UNIX server market, the competition continued to be fierce during the quarter. HP and IBM tied for the number 1 position in Q4 2002, each with 30% revenue market share inclusive of both Intel and RISC UNIX based systems.

Sun Microsystems followed closely behind with 28% share. The UNIX market declined 9.5% to $5 billion from a year ago quarter. For the full year, Sun Microsystems led the market with 32% share followed by HP with 30%. However, by combining Compaq and HP as one entity for the full year, HP would have tied for the number 1 position in the UNIX market.

The Linux server market was the brightest spot during the fourth quarter, posting a 41% increase to $607 million from a year ago quarter.

"As vendors continue to offer more compelling business and product strategies to support the Linux market, the competition has definitely increased," said Mark Melenovsky, research director, IDC's Internet Infrastructure program. "While HP continues to lead the Linux market, the number two and three spots are one share point apart." IBM with 20.5% share edged out Dell by one point for the number 2 spot. ...IDC profile
Sun Sun Promises Faster SPARC Performance Mañana

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - February 25, 2003 - Today, Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s executive vice president and Chief Technology Officer, Greg Papadopoulos, closed Sun's Worldwide Analyst Conference with a glimpse of innovations designed to shape network computing. Papadopoulos and David Yen, executive vice president, processor and network products, previewed Sun's Throughput Computing strategy and roadmap for driving dramatic improvements in systems and throughput. Over the next five years, Sun plans to deliver SPARC® microprocessors that will increase its UltraSPARC® microprocessors throughput by a factor of 30.

Throughput processors incorporate the technology of chip multithreading (CMT). CMT integrates the power of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) on a single processor, allowing a single processor to execute tens of threads simultaneously. This fundamentally changes the price/performance ratio of network computing. Within two years, Sun plans to create processors that will increase today's blade throughput 15-fold. Beyond 2005, Sun intends to ship system processors that will increase throughput by a factor of 30. ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's comments:- sounds good, but as we reported, in December 2001, Intel is doing exactly the same thing. So the new technology does not guarantee removing the disparity between Intel and SPARC systems. That's where the inertial innovations drag department at Microsoft comes in. With a little help from Microsoft the new Intel hardware features are unlikely to appear in a Windows OS until years after they appear in hardware. So SPARC servers could leapfrog ahead again.
Continuous Computing
. "The Flex21 application platform provides our telco customers a highly flexible system with the density, power, management and serviceability they need in a robust platform," said Ken Kalb, CEO, Continuous Computing Corp. "The ability of the Flex21 platform to run Intel, SPARC and PowerPC applications means our customers have a transparent base on which to build their applications. They can get to market faster with a low cost, open standards platform that is easy to deploy."
Continuous Computing Delivers Application-Ready, Open Architecture Platform for Telecom Equipment Manufacturers

San Diego, Calif. - February 24, 2003 - Continuous Computing Corporation (CCPU) today announced the Flex21 application-ready, open architecture platform. Designed to accommodate different architectures and operating systems, the Flex21 platform is the cornerstone of CCPU's complete family of OPENblade architecture solutions for Intel, SPARC and PowerPC. The high-availability, carriergrade Flex21 platform breaks new ground in CompactPCI with support for nineteen node slots and the ability to independently power and cool up to 100W per slot.

The Flex21 system furthers CCPU's strategy of providing high-availability platform solutions for a range of critical telecommunications provider markets. Available fully integrated with CCPU's award-winning upSuite high-availability middleware and CCPU's world-renowned Trillium protocol stacks, the new system provides customers with a fast path from development to deployment revenue.

The Flex21 platform is built on industry standards and designed for ease of manageability, serviceability, and scalability, resulting in lower total cost of ownership. ...Continuous Computing profile
Sun Sun Slashes Prices of Dumb Terminals to Education Market

SAN FRANCISCO, Worldwide Education and Research Conference - February 24, 2003 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. unveiled aggressive discounts on the Sun Ray product line for the education market, delivering savings of up to 42% off the list price of the Sun Ray total solution.
Imperial Technology
. "Several years ago, the thought of deploying a Terabyte of solid state storage was incomprehensible but so was having a Petabyte of rotating storage - yet today, enterprises have both" said Robert David, CEO and President, Imperial Technology. "It's really just a matter of increased scale. The relative proportions haven't changed nor have the compelling business reasons for deploying zero latency storage solutions like the MegaRam-10000."

"Significant decreases in memory chips have allowed Imperial to lower the selling price of solid state storage by up to 90% compared to three years ago - a phenomenal decrease," said Marlin Kovaleski, Vice President Sales, Imperial Technology. "It's now practical to put an entire database in solid state memory."
Imperial Technology Enables New Class of Mainframe Performance with Terabyte Class 1 million IOPS Solid State Disk storage

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - February 24, 2003 - Imperial Technology today announced its MegaRam-10000, its newest solid state accelerator, featuring up to one terabyte of solid state storage capacity with 1 million IOPS performance.

The MegaRam-10000 sets a new standard for a multi-location and enterprise-wide storage resource. Geared for the most transaction-intensive and mission critical environments, the MegaRam-10000's massively scalable architecture is targeted to grid computing, life science and biomedical research, large-scale engineering, and time-sensitive geophysical applications as well as traditional OLTP environments and HPC applications where capturing metadata real-time is critical.

The MegaRam-10000 responds to a growing awareness by transaction-oriented enterprises that relying upon traditional cached arrays to meet transaction levels is increasingly costly when utilization and management costs are taken into account.

The MegaRam-10000 is available immediately starting at $350,000. A fully configured 1TB subsystem with 48 fibre channel ports lists at $2 million. ...Imperial Technology profile

Editor's comments:- in the last year or so, high end server users in the Sun market, have been frustrated by performance bottlenecks which were not forseen when they originally committed to SPARC architecture. Most serious has been the lack of network I/O performance in which the lower clock rates of 64 bit processors (typically half those of their 32 bit counterparts) have damped the overall system capability. The recent ratification of the iSCSI network standard, will ease that factor because manufacturers will now be able to commit TCP/IP offload acceleration algorithms into hardware. But the performance gap between mass storage systems based on disk arrays, and the needs of high end users has still been a major chasm. Imperial's new MegaRam-10000 crosses that chasm for the class of users who absolutely need the fastest performance.
Sun

SunGard
Sun and SunGard to Jointly Market Business Continuity Solutions

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and WAYNE, PA.- February 20, 2003 - Sun Microsystems, Inc., and SunGard Availability Services today announced a joint agreement to market SunGard's industry-leading information availability services, including disaster recovery and high availability services. As part of a strategic alliance, Sun and SunGard will work together to create and sell new business continuity packaging for small, medium, and large customers, as well as high availability packages targeted for large-scale business critical environments.

The first to achieve SunTone certification for its disaster recovery service offerings, SunGard Availability Services running on Sun systems offers enhanced capabilities to help reduce exposure to lost information; help reduce overall business risks and help ensure that revenue streams stay intact. Through the combined strengths of the two companies, customers can realize maximum availability of services and minimize interruption to their business-critical information systems. ...SunGard profile, ...Sun Microsystems profile

See also:- Web based storage
Brooktrout
. "As companies are downsizing and cutting budgets, they find that they can't do everything in-house," said Stephanie Ide, partner program manager at Brooktrout. "Programs like the Brooktrout Consultant Access Network are helping to solve this problem by quickly bringing together the necessary technical resources to get development work done faster and products to market more quickly. At Brooktrout we understand the value of partnerships and we believe this new program is yet another example of our true partner philosophy."
Brooktrout Launches Consultant Access Network Program to Bring Consultants and Developers Together to Accelerate Time to Market

NEEDHAM, Mass - February 20, 2003 - Brooktrout Technology, Inc. today announced the Brooktrout Consultant Access Network™, a new program designed to bring together qualified, third party development consultants with customers and prospects who are seeking development assistance, or porting their applications to Brooktrout enabling technology platforms.

In this innovative program, Brooktrout is partnering with skilled consultants who have expertise developing to Brooktrout's APIs and platforms. When a customer or prospect is seeking specialized development or porting assistance, Brooktrout can help them choose the appropriate consultant based on area of expertise and geographic location, and make the introduction.

The Brooktrout Consultant Access Network not only provides benefits to customers and prospects, but also to the consultants joining the program. By registering and qualifying for the program, consultants are entered into a database, which is available publicly on Brooktrout's web site.

Consultants in the program have access to several technical and marketing benefits including discounts on software development kit purchases, access to sample code, access to product roadmaps, technical support and access to other resources inside the company including marketing and public relations staffs.

If you are a consultant interested in joining the Brooktrout Consultant Access Network, or are interested in taking advantage of Brooktrout's Partner Access Network Program, please contact Stephanie Ide at 781-433-9571 or steph@brooktrout.com. ...Brooktrout Technology profile
Harris Harris Corporation Computer Security Tool Now Includes Department of Homeland Security Vulnerabilities List

MELBOURNE, Florida - February 19, 2003 - Harris Corporation is the first company in the industry to add the list of computer vulnerabilities published by the Federal Computer Incident Response Center (FedCIRC) to its vulnerability assessment tool. The recently released STAT Scanner version 5.08 scans for all the Windows, Solaris and RedHat/Mandrake Linux IT vulnerabilities in the FedCIRC vulnerability catalog. In addition to the FedCIRC list, STAT Scanner searches for vulnerabilities from several other sources, including the MITRE Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list, the SANS/FBI Top 20 vulnerabilities list, the CERT list, and the Information Assurance Vulnerability Alerts (IAVAs) issued by the DoD and all the military branches.

STAT Scanner searches for vulnerabilities in Windows NT, Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP, Linux and UNIX operating platforms, assessing thousands of network security vulnerabilities and automatically repairing/remediating many of them. ...Harris profile
Adax
. "Traditionally, Adax products have resided in the Core Network, extending out as far as the Radio Network Controller (RNC)," commented Robin Kent, Director of European Operations, Adax. "With the combination of the new ATMII hardware for AAL2 and AAL5 and recent performance enhancements to the SSCOP/SSCF software, Adax now has the capability to sit right out to the basestations (Node B's) at the network edge in 3G/UMTS networks."
Adax ATMII-PMC handles all 3G network signalling

Cannes, France - February 18, 2003 - The new ATMII-PMC protocol controller from Adax has the capability to perform all 3G network signaling functions. Using the same board throughout the network allows 3G network designers to reduce costs as common interfaces (APIs) can be utilised to ease and speed application development, service deployment and also reduce support costs. In addition, the board's high performance makes the applications more efficient, thereby lowering the hardware investment.

With both AAL2 and AAL5 capability, the controller can be used in any node throughout the 3G network. Being able to perform all the 3G network signaling tasks from the MSC to the Node B simplifies the parts list and by upgrading the software to meet all layer two requirements, Adax has helped speed development time and increase customers' ability to integrate solutions ahead of the competition.

Further advantages come from the protection of investment for customers; the same controller utilised for all nodes makes for easily scaleable solutions. Installing multiple ATM cards if needed means that fully scalable solutions are now a reality for T1/E1, OC3/STM-1, IMA and Ethernet/IP, assisting convergence both in the present and in the future. ...ADAX profile
Sun Bytemobile and Sun Deliver Dynamic Optimization for Wireless Data

Mountain View, Calif. And Santa Clara, Calif. - February 17, 2003 - Bytemobile, Inc. and Sun Microsystems, Inc., today announced a relationship to develop, sell and co-market their integrated wireless data solution to mobile network operators and enterprise customers.

The integrated wireless data solution typically comprises Bytemobile's Macara Optimization Service Node (OSN) software running on high-performance Sun servers. This unique solution includes personalized, dynamic optimization technology, designed to dramatically improve user productivity. Mobile network operators such as Sprint, Vodafone and Nextel, have already deployed Bytemobile software running on the Sun platform to speed up delivery and improve connection robustness for mobile data.

In tests, the solution from Bytemobile and Sun showed dramatic application improvement in both Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. Performance gains of up to 7 times in data reduction and 10 times in delivery speeds are typical. Additional features include self-care management services that can significantly decrease support requirements for customer care centers. Deployment and maintenance costs can also be reduced because the joint solutions integrate easily into existing data networks and require little maintenance. ...Bytemobile, ...Sun Microsystems profile

See also:- DSP cards

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